Sunday, August 22, 2010

Solon, age 11

For the last few years, I've promised Solon that when he was just a little older he could come visit me in NYC, all by himself. I expected the magic age to be 12, but sister Sarah assured me he could handle it this summer and arranged for him to travel as an unaccompanied minor from Boston to NYC. Pretty impressive, I thought.

Those of you who know me know I don't spend weekends in NYC. I flee to the PA countryside, where the air is fresh and cool, I can swim in a lake that hasn't seen a motor since 1953, and the sunlight streams in through skylights and windows alike. But there are several things I'd do for Solon that I wouldn't do for just anyone.

Like tour the Times Square Toys R Us,

eat pizza al fresco on Broadway,

take Mr. Puffy Paws to see Mary Poppins with a special backstage tour courtesy of friend Ann (aka the Bird Woman),

play mini-golf and ride bikes on Governor's Island. I confess, I've wanted to visit Governor's Island for a few years. Never spending the weekend in NYC has a few (albeit VERY few) disadvantages.

We visited the Museum of Natural History, the Bronx Zoo

and cheered the Red Sox on to victory at Solon's first ever Big League baseball game. That's right, we're Bosox fans. Got a problem with that?

Just an ordinary weekend in the Big Apple. For me and Solon, anyway.

Friday, August 13, 2010

the dread pirate Nathan

Friday, August 6, 2010

the long awaited harvest

Does this look delicious to you? The mayapple is a primo example of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. And this beholder says yum-yum.

I've recommended Sam Thayer's books here before, and in Nature's Garden he writes about the elusive mayapple in a way that made me laugh out loud:

"I, too, have felt my heart pounding as I knelt down and peered among the half-yellowed leaves in search of a second [italics are mine] mayapple. I have bolted among the while oak trunks to pounce on one dangling, shaded yellow treasure after another. I have run to exhaustion up limestone ridges in the waning dusk light, scratching my thighs on blackberry thorns and covering my socks with stick-tights in the hope of adding two or three pulpy mayapples to my precious dozen.

"I have never examined the input/output ratio of calories for this pursuit, nor have I calculated my labor efficiency. But please don't do it for me. Let us mayapple hunters have our fun. Who cares how many hours are consumed: we are driven by our memory of that one time, when there was a fruit on every forked stem, some even as big as kiwi fruits - and we got hundreds. You don't understand. You weren't there."

That pretty much describes how Mark and I felt last weekend, as we forded the Lackawaxen to visit our favorite mayapple patch. Not a fruit in site. Was it too late? More likely this summer's drought had come at just the wrong time and the fruit aborted. Sigh. At least it was a nice swim.

Fortunately, back at my second favorite mayapple patch there were a few fruit lingering on the very brown, very dry plants. They may look a little funky, but that's how you want them: soft, squishy, and fragrant. An underipe mayapple is a sad thing. It's said that if the fruit is showing yellow color but not quite soft, that it will ripen on the windowsill. But be careful: any fruit that doesn't fully ripen can taint the whole batch.

Now...what to make with my limited (and therfore more highly treasured) bounty? I'm open to suggestions.